Monthly Archives: June 2021

Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Must-Have Dog Hiking Gear: Emergency Rescue Harness

Homegrown in New Hampshire by Mountain Dogware
Emergency Rescue Harness

It’s a nightmare scenario: You and your dog are having a great time in the outdoors when suddenly, something happens to her—a fall, a twist, a snake bite—and she’s out of commission. If she’s too big for you to comfortably and safely carry in your arms back to your vehicle, what do you do?

A new product from Mountain Dogware, a family-owned business, has the answer to that question: their Pack-a-Paw emergency rescue harness. It’s one of those things that when you see it, you think, “Well, yeah! What a good idea!”

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

If your dog gets distressed by fireworks, take action now!

For the first 8 or so years of his life, my senior dog, Otto, was not bothered by fireworks. Honestly, he couldn’t care less, even though our town is the only one in our county that allows people to set off their own fireworks in the city limits. Every night for a week before Independence Day, people all over town are lighting firecrackers and fireworks – and on the big day itself, it seriously sounds like a war is going on. Every big parking lot in town gets PACKED with people who come here from all over the county to play with their fireworks, and watch those being set off by other people. Otto used to sleep through it all.

But around age 9 or 10, Otto started forming a different opinion about all the sounds that fireworks made, from the crackling and sizzling sounds to the pops and booms, and his fear has gotten worse every year. We’ve gone from simple steps like closing the house up tight, turning on fans, putting on loud TV shows, and dosing him with a calming cannabis product for dogs, to making darn sure that I have prescriptions for both Trazodone and Sileo to give him.

Trazodone is a serotonin 2A antagonist and reuptake inhibitor that has been used in human medicine as a prescription therapy for depression, aggression, sleeplessness, and anxiety since the early 1980s. In 2008, a study reported that Trazodone could be used successfully in dogs with good therapeutic benefit and minimal adverse effects. Since then, it has gotten increasingly popular as a prescribed drug to reduce anxiety and increase calm behavior in dogs who are recovering from surgery or injuries. It works particularly well in many dogs in combination with Sileo.

Sileo (dexmedetomidine oromucosal gel) was approved by the FDA in 2016 for specific use as a treatment for noise aversion. It helps calm dogs without any sedating effects, so they can continue to be fully functional.

Many veterinarians still prescribe the tranquilizer Acepromazine for dogs who panic during fireworks displays. Unfortunately, “Ace” (as it is commonly called) works in a very different way than both Trazodone and Sileo. Acepromazine is often referred to as a “chemical straitjacket” because it typically immobilizes the dog but they are still fully aware of everything going on around them, and may, in fact, be terrified but unable to show this. How do we know this? Because some dogs who have been given Acepromazine become more and more sensitized to the sounds each time they have been “Aced” for fireworks.

Last year, Trazodone and Sileo worked great

We moved a few years ago out of town into a more rural area where fireworks are strictly forbidden by law. We can no longer hear any crackling sounds of small fireworks, but there are definitely still idiots within a half mile or so who set off big booming things that sound like cannon fire. Trazodone helps Otto calm down and stop shaking and panting after he hears one of these booms, and helps him go to sleep. But the year before last, even with the Trazodone and everything else we did to try to keep the noise of the peak July 4th fireworks from reaching his ears, he kept us up almost all night, whining, panting, and shaking. He wanted to get in bed with me (which he never does normally) but he wouldn’t stay for more than a minute. His responses were slowed by the Trazodone, but not eliminated.

So last year, at the beginning of June, I called my veterinarian and asked if I could get a prescription for Sileo, which I had heard great things about. Long story short, even starting a month early, it took three weeks to get the drug. Because my vet doesn’t carry it, I had to mail a paper prescription to an online pharmacy, and their stock was backordered…. I finally received the medication three weeks after I saw the vet!

It made all the difference in the world. On the night of the 4th, I gave Otto one tablet of the Trazodone around 7 p.m.; it seems to take about an hour to start having a visible effect on Otto, making him sleepy. It’s not really dark until about 9 p.m., but the directions for the Sileo say to give an initial dose about 30 to 60 minutes before the concerning noises begin. I gave Otto a dose at about 8 p.m., and by the time all the big firework noises began, the meds had definitely kicked in. He might raise his head and look a little wide-eyed at the loudest booms, but would immediately put his head down and close his eyes again afterward.

A little after 10:00 p.m., he started getting up and pacing a bit when he heard a big boom. You can give additional doses of the Sileo in as little as two to three hours after the first dose. I gave Otto one more dose at 10:30 p.m., and by 11, he was out for the rest of the night, thank goodness! So you can believe me that I started early again this year, getting another prescription for Trazodone and Sileo.

There are many other over-the-counter products that help dogs with the noise of fireworks: ThunderShirts or other products that tightly wrap the dog’s body, which seems to have a calming effect on them; Adaptil, a synthetic pheromone product that seems to have an anxiety-reducing effect on some dogs; and a wide variety of supplements that are supposed to help calm dogs. These products can readily be tested on dogs who have phobias to more common noises or events such as thunderstorms, but when it’s critical to have reliable help on the BIG night, for my dog, I want the proven efficacy of the big prescription drugs.

How about you? If you have a fireworks-phobic dog, are you ready with tools to help him or her cope? What do you use?

The post If your dog gets distressed by fireworks, take action now! appeared first on Whole Dog Journal.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters

There may have been a time when schools only needed to be charged with teaching students reading, writing and arithmetic. But as society changes schools become responsible for instruction that either used to be provided at home, or represents a new field of study. When I was in high school we had a choice of […]

The post The Changing Role & Responsibility of Rescues & Shelters appeared first on Fearful Dogs.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 811 – The New Normal: Distance Learning & Telecommuting

Victoria and Aly talk about how to be more effective when learning and working from home. Social distancing is the thing these days, but how do we keep from going nuts and what are the best practices to stay productive and efficient when working or learning from home. Dealing with the social aspect of isolation. Aly shares some top tips for how to be productive while staying home, including staying engaged and avoiding passivity. The use of rituals of physical, technical and mental preparation in staying efficient at home.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

read more

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe & Calm this Fourth of July

 

 

read more

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode 838 – Nicky Campbell

Nicky Campbell OBE is an award winning radio DJ, journalist, author, and TV presenter. His body of work spans the globe, but it is his love for dogs that has inspired his latest venture – One of the Family – a dog-centric podcast that explores how dogs make our world an infinitely better place.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet Dexter

smiling dog

Dexter loves to travel and hike. Seeing new places always makes Dexter smile!

Tags: 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Three Secrets to Safe & Effective Exercise for Your Dog

It’s no secret that exercising your dog can lead to a happier and healthier pup – not to mention a quieter house and a happier you. The complication is that exercising your dog takes time and sometimes we struggle to find time to exercise ourselves. However, without safe and effective exercise, your dog can gain weight, risk costly injury, and tear apart the house in response to pent up energy. Consider how you exercise your dog now: perhaps you play tug with your Chihuahua in the living room, jog or play fetch with your active retriever, or ask your senior mixed breed to sit in the kitchen — all of these activities can exercise your dog both physically and mentally. Let’s further explore how you can make the most of your time with your dog while safely and effectively gaining the benefits of exercise.

Here are three secrets to safely and effectively exercising your dog through activities and games that you probably already play.

1. Discuss with your veterinarian

Before beginning any exercise (even training class!), it’s important to get a full health check with your local veterinarian. Let your vet know which activities you are thinking about pursuing, and ask which activities would be most appropriate for your dog’s age, musculoskeletal structure, and preferences. Remember, just like with children, jumping from high places or playing on hard surfaces can be detrimental to joints. Be sure to ask how long the activities should last, how intense they should be, and about any necessary equipment or weather precautions. Just because your dog wants to fetch constantly, doesn’t necessarily mean that this high impact, sustained exercise is healthy. Describe the activity and environment to your vet in detail, and be sure to get clearance before enjoying with your pup.

2. Explore variation

After speaking with your veterinarian about appropriate activities for your dog, plan to vary the types of activities each day. If your veterinarian approved some shorter distance jogs for your pup, perhaps the next day you could spread his food in the backyard as a scavenger hunt. Varying high intensity with low intensity workouts is just as stimulating for your pup, and the variation will keep him engaged. You can also vary exercises within the activity itself. For example, if you frequently throw a ball or disc for your dog until she lies down and pants, consider asking for tricks between different types of throws. By varying distances and body movements you can help your dog regulate her arousal and stay safe.

3. Remember warms up & cool down

Before beginning any activity, it’s important to set up your dog for success. Dogs have the same basic musculoskeletal components as people, and therefore they can sustain similar injuries from rigorous use or clumsy accidents. However, dogs are more athletic compared to humans (even your couch potato probably has a higher VO2max than you!), and they can exert a lot of energy at playtime. It’s important to warm up and cool down your dog’s muscles before use. Consider the type of exercise and what body parts are involved, and plan for a warm up. For example, if you’re about to open the back door for your dog to dash out with his powerful hind legs, take a couple walking laps around the living room first. Ask for a few repetitions of sit and put a treat in front of his nose to lure him in a few circles before opening the door. Much like a short jog, squats, and plyometrics before a sprint, these exercises can help protect your dog’s soft tissue before dashing off. The easiest part is that the same exercises can be performed in reverse for a quick cool down.

Using these three secrets, you can safely and effectively exercise your dog in the same amount of time and help you and your pup enjoy the benefits. Through warms ups/cool downs and varying your dog’s activities you can tire your pup out in no time at all. Talking to your veterinarian about the type, duration, and intensity of activity can also tailor the exercise to your dog and avoid costly injury. 

Many caretakers believe that their dog needs to sprint in order to get tired, when in reality sniffing, training, or a combination can be just as taxing. Check out the table below for more ideas! Challenge yourself this week to change one thing about your dog’s exercise routine, and see if you enjoy a calmer, healthier dog!

 

Activity

Variation

Warm up/cool down

Hide a treat/toy in the house

High/low places, obstacles, multiple rooms

Walk laps, sits, crawls

Sniffy walk

Hide treats, change route

Walk laps, sits

Tug

Side to side, stop/go, 2 tugs

Jog laps, play bow, weight shift

Fetch

Short/long distances, walking breaks, sit/down/spin/beg/back

Jog laps, downs, circles

Jog

Walk/run, canicross, sniff breaks

Sniff, walk laps, sits

 

 

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment